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6 Jan 2020 : New Year's Resolutions #
Fourteen years ago I wrote the code that powers this site. Until that time I'd used only static pages using a pre-generated templating system that were then uploaded to the site via FTP. As the site expanded and web technologies progressed, it was clear I needed to have something more structured, with content stored in a database and pages generated using server-side code. At the time I was trenchantly anti-Microsoft, but I also realised it's unfair to criticise something you don't understand. Microsoft's development technologies were in the ascendant and also seemed to be a better long-term bet than the open source alternatives. So I consciously chose ASP over PHP. Fourteen years later, even though that original ASP code has done pretty well, with the benefit of hindsight I can say with some confidence that I backed the wrong horse.
Evolution of the site, 1998, 2006 and 2020

So you could say it's been a somewhat extended evaluation period, but I've finally decided it's time to re-write the site in PHP. This will allow me to migrate to a Linux server, giving me more control and flexibility, but more importantly it'll also allow me to deploy a TLS certificate for the site (it's perfectly possible to deploy a cert on an IIS server of course, but this is a thing with my hosting provider).

To help motivate me, while I'm not usually a fan of New Year's Resolutions, this year I'm making an exception. In 2020 I've decided that this will be my first resolution: to re-write this site's code in PHP. All of the content will remain and if all goes well no-one except me will notice any difference. Maybe astute visitors will notice a padlock.

Since I'm already setting myself up for failure, I figure I may as well stick a few more items on the list too. So, in 2020, here's are some other things I plan to achieve.
  1. Reduce my daily waste output to below 300g. In the last four months of 2019 it was 329g a day, 81% of which was recycled. In 2020 I want to reduce this to less than 300g waste per day. I'd prefer to decrease waste than increase recycling. I've no idea how I'll do it yet, and the year has started disastrously already, so we'll see. I'd also like to be carbon neutral, but I've not even calculated my current carbon footprint, so maybe that'd be getting ahead of myself.
  2. Scintillon is the Philips Hue app I developed and maintain for Sailfish OS phones. After having used it last year to control the lights in my flat, it's now ready for a bit of refinement. I often find myself having to switch between different pages in the app in order to control my lights the way I want, so I think it'd be a good improvement to support some extra configurability to allow users to design their own interface the way they want. I just need to carve out the time to design and implement it.
  3. I'm learning Finnish but it's difficult and I'm slow. So I need to focus. My sister generously gave me a subscription to FinnishPod101 for Christmas and now I just need to commit to using it. My aim is to spend at least 30 minutes a day learning Finnish, topping up my Finnish classes using the site.
I have so many more projects and plans lined up, like my ideas to create a gesture-based programming language or to extend the concept of a Celtic knot to n-dimensional space. But if it's taken me 14 years to write this website, I may have to leave some of those till 2021.


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